‘Flexibility & Freshness’ not just for new companies

June 23rd, 2014, 10:22 PM by Goddess

A quick must-read: There is No ‘Startup’ Culture — There is Only Culture

TL;DR edition:

At Clockwork we do things like hosting (and attending) community and industry events, bringing a CSA day (organic farm vegetables!) to the office, having a walking work station and a Nice Ride MN bike sharing membership, and hosting an internal launch lunch where we share project learning and successes. Our monthly Lab Day — where employees can bring an interest or an idea to the table and dedicate the day to it — encourages creative curiosity and collaboration. We’re rolling out a variation on this concept this month with a Lab Day of Service, a day dedicated to helping an organization by donating our expertise and people power. …

Culture creates empowering challenges and meaningful engagement. If we let all of this be compromised because we simply are more comfortable resisting change, then we are failing at culture and we are failing at work. But bigger than that — we are failing people.



On hiring

June 22nd, 2014, 7:04 AM by Goddess

It’s been a while since I posted about my adventures with company values, leadership and employee engagement.

Mostly because when you spend 2/3 of your week going against all things holy and finding ways to pacify the savage beasts in the moat around your castle, well, priorities.

I’m working my way back from a long burnout odyssey (that counts as vacation, right?) and if I don’t re-engage my brain, I’ll be on the short bus right back.

My friends Bill Catlette and Richard Hadden over at Contented Cows sent an e-letter this weekend that struck a chord in me about hiring the right person for the job …

1. J.C. Penney invited candidates for a high-level job to dinner. The most-recommended candidate, he passed over, in favor of a man who tasted his potatoes before seasoning them. It showed he wasn’t as quick to judge as the “best” candidate, who salted his potatoes immediately.

2. Bill Marriott, who likes to travel with his future potential leaders, had a young man who was brilliantly polite to a food server in a restaurant where things were moving slowly. Marriott’s stance was that you want people on your team who are kind to waitstaff, airline employees, bellmen and others — people who show grace belong at your side when you’re running your business.

I have second-round interviews on Tuesday. And I will be keeping these successful businessmen’s stories in mind.



Poached, scrambled and over (far too) easy

June 17th, 2014, 6:54 AM by Goddess

It’s no secret around here that I’ve been trying to hire help from a very shallow and polluted talent pool.

I mentioned to my friend in Customer Care that I met two people last week who seemed to be able dress themselves. We may have a winner in this pile.

Somehow she didn’t know I was hiring and said, “Remember when HR used to send around notes that positions are available in other departments?”

I shook my head. It was before my time.

The thing is, everyone is afraid to apply not only across departments, but across the industry. That’s why I have such a shitty candidate pool.

There are great people at similar companies; we just know that our bosses all have a little “pinky swear” deal whereby they are bound by blood oath to tattle when someone expresses an interest in exploring their career options.

So, people stay until they’re so unhappy they go numb or else decide to change their skill areas or just leave the field altogether.

I remember when I “poached” someone years ago from another department. We had a bright young lady who was going to leave whether we tried to stop her or not. And I happened to have an opening that she was perfect for.

And MAYBE I had the foresight not to let her go without a fight, because I would be DAMNED if she was going to take her skills and training and aptitude elsewhere.

My boss got a lot of shit from her (now-ex) boss. But we not only kept this talented and AMAZING gal at the company, but she has my old job now.

An extra point for those who are really paying attention: She outlived me, her old boss AND my boss at that company. All because we DARED to put the right people on the right team.

Such a shame that I will never get that opportunity to make that kind of magic again, now that the “poaching” definition expands across company lines.

Even though, let’s face it, all the companies are going to merge eventually and we’ll all be under the same roof.

That is, if our rising stars last that long.



Not just tech

June 10th, 2014, 6:21 AM by Goddess

In a world where everyone is discouraged from/punished for daring to explore whether something else could or couldn’t be better fit …

The Spreading Sclerosis of the Non-Compete Agreement

Tim Fernholz on how non-compete agreements are gaining a chokehold on American business. “Economists think that innovation can be spurred by having lots of firms in the same skilled industry working near each other; as workers move from firm to firm and mix with new people, new ideas and firms are created. Non-competes limit their ability to do that—in fact, California law makes most non-compete agreements unenforceable, and other research found that Silicon Valley has an unusually high level of inter-firm mobility for workers.”



Grass

June 6th, 2014, 10:50 AM by Goddess

They say the grass is always greener on the other side of the hedge. And I’ve never seen that more true since the other side of the company put a brand-new employee on the other side of the hedge from me.

Only, my side is the one that’s WAY prettier.

JESUS CHRIST THAT GUY HAS A LOT OF CONFERENCE CALLS.

Don’t get me wrong. One call a day is too many for me. But it sounds like there are 12 people on each call and that fucker is on the phone all goddamned day.

The best conclusion I can draw is it takes his team 35 people to do the same work that myself, the marketing head and the copy chief achieve for our entire division.